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All He Wanted to Do Was Refill His Soda -- Then He Was Hit With a $525 Fine


"... it's unbelievable to me."

A South Carolina construction worker is getting off with a warning after he was issued a citation that came with a $525 fine for refilling his soda without paying.

Christopher Lewis claims he didn't see the signs that noted the required 89-cent refill fee at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Charleston.

"Every time I look at the ticket, it's unbelievable to me,” Lewis told WCSC-TV on Wednesday of the ticket issued to him by a federal police officer. “I can't fathom the fact that I made a $0.89 mistake that cost me $525."

Image source: WCSC-TV Image source: WCSC-TV

Lewis' offense was considered shoplifting, and it put him out of a job as well.

"I'm done there, at the VA hospital. I'm not allowed to go on the premises anymore," he recounted to the news station. "I asked him can I still work on the job site and just bring my lunch and not go to the cafeteria and he said he wanted me off the premises."

After reviewing what happened the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, it was decided by officials that Lewis would only get a warning instead of the federal citation. The hospital is also reviewing the signs it has posted about the need to pay for refills to ensure they're clear enough.

What is unclear is if Lewis' job was reinstated as well. The VA did not immediately return TheBlaze's request for clarification on this issue.

Part of what upsets Lewis the most is that he "never had an option to make right what I had done wrong," he told WCSC.

Image source: WCSC-TV Image source: WCSC-TV

The news station included that a hospital spokeswoman said Lewis was apparently aggressive during the initial confrontation about the drink.

Before the punishment was reduced to a warning, Lewis said he planned to take the issue to higher officials at internal affairs and appeal.

"I want everybody to know that I made a simple mistake, that I'm not a thief, that I'm not dishonest. I'm trying to do the right thing," he told WCSC.

Watch WCSC's report:

Featured image via Shutterstock.

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